13 Feb 2016 15:30pm
WINDHOEK, 13 FEB (NAMPA) Regional governors, chairpersons of the management committees of regional councils and chief regional officers Friday attended a one-day consultative meeting on gender-based violence (GBV).
A closed-door meeting took place in Windhoek to discuss and get a better understanding of the National Plan on GBV; recommendations from the second national conference on GBV; and the coordination mechanism on the implementation of the National Gender Policy for execution in all 14 regions.
The common forms of GBV in Namibia include, among others, domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, forced marriages, baby-dumping and human trafficking.
Speaking at the meeting, the Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Doreen Sioka said Namibia faces challenges of strange social behaviours of some members of society, who lost a sense of respect for human dignity and respect for human life, as guaranteed in the Namibian Constitution.
Sioka called on the delegates to include GBV in every speech when addressing inhabitants of their respective regions to make Namibia GBV-free.
Let us make sure that we promote programmes that empower our women, men, boys and girls; and that we fight the plight of poverty no one must be left out, she said.
The ministry and stakeholders have developed a national plan on GBV in partial fulfilment of its mandate to ensure gender equality, equitable socio-economic development of women and men, and the well being of children. This comprehensive National Plan of Action on GBV aims to assist in coordinating and guiding interventions, programmes and projects on GBV in Namibia, and runs for five years from 2012 to 2016.
Back in July 2009, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare launched the Zero Tolerance Campaign against GBV in Oshikango, in the Ohangwena Region. The campaign took place as part of the outcome of the first national conference on GBV in 2009. Six years after that, the situation has not improved yet and a national day of prayer was held on 06 March 2014. Former President Hifikepunye Pohamba called on the nation to refrain from violence in the country. A second national GBV conference was held in the capital in July 2014.
Another campaign was launched soon after the event under the theme Stop it to Spot it and was part of a radio programme followed by a social media page on Facebook for discussions. The radio programme included dramas on GBV; discussions and professional advice from social workers to listeners on how to prevent, or respond to domestic violence and rape or sexual violence.
But the concern was raised during the meeting that not all regions have implemented their regional plans of action set out by the National Gender Policy, spearheaded by the ministry and for execution on regional level.
It is now our duty as leaders, who are entrusted by our Government, to use all we have to our disposal to ensure full protection of life, that all our people respect human rights and especially the rights of women and children and disabled persons at all times. This would enable every citizen to enjoy life to the fullest, free of violence and therefore, contribute to the development of our country towards Vision 2030, Sioka said.